Life at TISS - Final Year Begins

Every now and then, it is beneficial to pause and look back. Especially at the end of the first year of a two year master's program. Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this post describing my first impressions of TISS. That post received a lot of positive reactions and also some negative ones, the comments, as is the norm nowadays indicate the furore that it caused. In retrospect, my hunch about TISS was right. It is indeed about re imagining futures.

A year later, I find myself sitting here typing on my laptop (I managed to replace the old one), while a gentle breeze blows outside my window, swaying the old palms in the middle of the night in the Friendship Park that I call home. A strong cup of filter coffee, courtesy of in the inhouse master Barista Ranjit is sitting tall. From living on my own, in a home away from my home, studying odd hours, working in teams, having discussions over chai and at times, perfecting the art of doing nothing, the year was filled with memories ple…

Inside the Chamber of Secrets - A Walk inside CST

Frederick William Stevens lies buried under a nondescript gravestone in the Sewri Christian Cemetery. Among the many notable individuals who lay here, this man's contribution to the city of Bombay is far more noticeable than anyone else. For, F.W. Stevens was the architect of many of the more prominent buildings of Bombay.
Years ago, when we started the Exploring Fort walk, we would begin with an interesting story of the Mulji Jetha fountain on Mint Road. Early participants, I remember, were quite puzzled by my excitement of telling the story of a small rundown fountain, with a dome topped by a young boy reading a book. The source of my fascination was the fact that it was designed by Stevens. The same architect who gave us the Victoria Terminus or the CSMT - the current headquarters of the Central Railway and one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city.

A walk around this magnificent building will introduce you to the grandeur of Stevens' imagination. The might of…

Time Travelling in Vasai - A short history of Bassein Fort

Our train rumbles on the bridge over Vasai creek as the sun begins to rise in the east. When I look to the west, a kilometer away, I see a tower in ruins, rising sharply above the coconut palm swaying by the shore. That is my first glimpse of the Fort. Outside the Vasai Road railway station, we hire an autorickshaw for the 10 km ride to the ruins of what was once the jewel in the crown of the Portuguese.

Vasai an idyllic suburb with a rich past is fast changing. As our rickshaw zooms across wide roads, the construction activity underway is most noticeable. Under the influence of the Urban sprawl of Mumbai, Vasai-Virar region emerged as a major low-cost housing hub in the last two decades. However, the region is still rurban. The road narrows, colourful small cottages, community ponds start to appear as we cross Papdi where at the Our Lady of Grace Cathedral, the Sunday mass is underway.
The predominant Christian character of the region (and a large part of the Western Coast of India) …

Walking through Panjrapole- A Photo Essay

"Where do you live in Chembur?"
"Err, where is that?" 
"You know, where the Freeway begins?" 
"Ah that. I never knew"

(Excerpt from many conversations I have had with friends who are residents of Chembur)
Last year in June, I took up admission for an MA program at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar. It made sense to move into a house closer to college. So I chose to live on Din Quarry Road, in Panjrapole, a seven minute walk to the old campus. But I live at the foothills, and I take a detour while the road continues to climb right to the top, going all the way above the tunnel of the Freeway. Last evening, I skipped my detour and walked up the slope, as high as the road would take me. 
Panjrapole, which loosely translated means an enclosed yard, typically built to care for cattle, birds, and other small animals can be found all over India. The Bombay Panjrapole at Bhuleshwar was established in 1934 following the Dog R…

Life at TISS: Reflections

My laptop is down. It seems to have caught a cold. It refuses to come on. The battery is fully charged, I checked, but it still doesn't come on. In the foothills of the BARC hills where I spend most of my day it rains incessantly, much to our delight and disappointment. Delight because the TISS campus and the surroundings have turned resplendent in green so peculiar of the monsoons. And disappointment because our underwear doesn't dry. If the humble loincloth can take two days to dry under a fan, one can imagine the state of our clothes. The laundry service on campus is kind enough to wash a bucket full of clothes for a sum of Rs. 20 per bucket but the damn sun doesn't appear. It is on a paid leave that we at the HR Department don't approve of.

From the highest floor of the library building #LifeAtTiss #BombayRainsA photo posted by Rushikesh Kulkarni (@rushikeshgk) on Jul 13, 2016 at 12:05pm PDT This is a interesting phase in my life. I am being reflective about it be…

Reimagining Futures - Journey Begins at TISS

When I was in school I remember seeing print ads of Childline. The number was 1098 and a child holding a phone was the logo. What a great idea it had seemed to me back then, I could simply call up a number if I was beaten up at school, I thought. Several years later, sitting at the Convention Centre of the TISS, Bombay campus I found out that it all began there. What was meant to be a personal project of Jeroo Billimoria has now transformed into a global movement, along with the Ministry of Women and Child Development adopting the programme as its own
The occasion was the Director's Address as part of our Orientation for the academic year 16-18. Dr. Parasuraman was to speak about the various Field Action Projects that are undertaken at TISS by various faculty members and students belonging to the myriad centres that call this campus their home. It was amazing how candid, sensitive and witty the talk was. Apart from the fact that many of the programmes which began here were then lat…